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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46183
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been employed in my job for 13 years and up to 11 years

Resolved Question:

I have been employed in my job for 13 years and up to 11 years ago my employers were quite amicable when it came to me changing my start and finish times and if I had problems getting to work on time, I would usually make up the time accordingly at the end of the working day. However, over the past year, the managers have had a more stern approach to lateness and have implemented informal procedures to deal with certain employees. For the last year and a half I have had the option of working longer hours and fewer days as the needs of the service has meant that we have to provide a 24 hour service. Last year, I had some issues going on in the background which meant that I was literally going to work, going to visit a relative in hospital after work and then sometimes going to visit other relative and then going home. This meant that my start time for the following day would be between 5 and 10 minutes later. After informal counselling, things improved for a few months, but then I had a relapse after I had the same events occurred this year. Unfortunately, the general background issues are ongoing even when the relative is not in hospital. A second counselling meeting took place to further highlight the issue. Although I could ask, I don't think it will be easy for me to start my shift 15 minutes later as the staff going home from the previous shift may face delays leaving site. I have been given the option of doing more regular, shorter (standard) days, but anticipate that I will have less time for myself if I have to work more weekdays to achieve the same number of hours. Although I have not been diagnosed, I think I may be suffering from a sleep disorder called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) which tends to be worse in the winter months when there is less daylight and the condition is probably exacerbated by other events causing me to feel more tired and less responsive to alarms going off in the morning. This is probably where I am relapsing. Obviously, if I did not have other issues, I could spend more time at home sorting myself out. At the moment, I feel that being slightly late is regarded by employers as a failure on the employee's part to conform to company rules, but I am not in any way being late on purpose. I always feel that I need to rush to get ready and even when I manage to get up earlier, time seems to creep up on me. Is there any point in me trying to see if I have a sleep disorder which is causing me to have this chronic inability to judge my timings in the mornings? At the moment, there are no other steps the employer can take to shorten my journey times, but I do think that they should be more caring about my welfare and perhaps offer me medical counselling from company health officers. I am in no way excusing my lateness and understand that it is a difficult matter to discuss in general as there is a general stigma attached to people who have difficulty getting to work on time.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. have you spoken to your employers about your medical condition

Customer:

No. I only thought about it after the counselling session. I am expecting them to speak to me again within the next couple of weeks to see if I want to change my shift pattern.

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Customer:

Also I meant first 11 years was okay.

Ben Jones :

ok thank you for that

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. I understand that the lateness is not something that you do on purpose and often it is something that you cannot help, but the employer may not necessarily know that and until they either find out about this rom you or you provide them with further information such as from your doctor.


 


So the key is to keep them in the loop about this, advise them that there could be an explanation for your lateness and in the meantime ensure that you undergo the necessary tests to determine if you do have this condition, or something else that could explain this. Ask them for a delay in making a decision on what to do with you until you have a better idea of what may be causing this.


 


Once the results have returned and you may potentially be able to show that this was due to the condition, then you may consider your next steps. The best argument would be if you can show that this amounts to a disability in law. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.


 


The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.


 


I will break this definition down:



  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)


 


If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.


 


What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:



  • making adjustments to work premises;

  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;

  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;

  • altering the employee’s hours of work;

  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;

  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;

  • providing supervision or other support.


 


So you could consider whether there are any adjustments that could be made to assist you with your condition and to enable you to continue your job with as few disruptions as possible. But first you need to get a more formal understanding of what may be causing your actions and take it from there.


 


Hope this clarifies your position?


 

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer:

Hi, thanks for your response. Your response was very helpful. I could not go into too much further detail about the nature of my job, or my personal circumstances, but I think that you understood what the situation was. I will now proceed to rate the service.

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46183
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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